When NBC announced that it was firing Matt Lauer, the network claimed it was acting on “the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News.” However, as more evidence emerges, it has become clear that Lauer was a sexual predator and NBC both enabled and covered up his rampant sexual misconduct.
Here are five glaring facts showing that NBC knew about and allowed Lauer’s sexual misconduct:
1. Multiple women claimed they reported Lauer to NBC executives who were only interested in keeping him happy, in order to maintain ratings
While the initial statement from NBC claimed that only one woman had come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, multiple women have since come forward with stories about their encounters with Lauer—and their attempts to report him.
A report from Variety citing more than 10 current and former employees, details accounts from women who described Lauer as a sexual predator in the workplace, using his power to intimidate and take advantage of female employees.
The sources said “Lauer’s conduct was not a secret among other employees at ‘Today,’” and the executive producers who worked with him “protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.” They claimed that while the Today Show brought in consistent ratings, NBC executives were more interested in keeping Lauer happy, than in listening to the employees he abused.
“Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer’s behavior, which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding ‘Today.’ NBC declined to comment. For most of Lauer’s tenure at ‘Today,’ the morning news show was No. 1 in the ratings, and executives were eager to keep him happy.”
2. NBC had video evidence of Lauer telling his co-anchor to “keep bending over,” while he stared at her cleavage.
One month after Meredith Vieira joined the Today Show in 2006, Lauer was caught on camera saying, “Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It’s a nice view,” as Vieira leaned over the coffee table to pick up scripts and Lauer stared down her shirt.
The video clip was published by TMZ, along with the claim that while Lauer made the comment during a commercial break, “in at least one city, the local affiliate stayed on NBC’s in-studio feed,” and Lauer was heard loud and clear.
It should be noted that because Lauer was mic’d up, not only did Vieira and the unsuspecting residents who were tuning into NBC hear his comment, but the entire control room and all of the producers at the Today Show also heard Lauer and had recorded evidence—and nothing was done.
3. Lauer had a button on his desk that automatically locked his office door
The report from Variety included an encounter in which Lauer invited a female employee to his office, exposed himself, and then reprimanded her when she refused to engage in a sex act. His office was described as “a secluded space,” and the report claims “he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up.”
Two of the women who were harassed by Lauer claimed that the button “afforded him the assurance of privacy” and “allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him.”
If NBC had no other clues about Lauer’s reputation, wouldn’t a secluded office and a button on his desk that automatically locked the door, raise a few red flags?
How does one even go about having installed a button on your desk that locks your door without needing to get up? Do you just do it? Do you come up with some weird excuse? Claim to be lazy?
— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) November 29, 2017
4. Lauer’s former co-anchor publicly claimed he routinely groped her on set in 2012
Former Today Show co-host Katie Couric publicly claimed Lauer groped her regularly on set during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2012.
“You co-hosted the Today Show with Matt Lauer for 15 years. What is Matt’s most annoying habit?” Cohen asked.
“He pinches me on the ass a lot,” Couric replied.
5. Lauer’s wife accused him of “cruel and inhumane acts” in 2006 divorce filing
Weeks before Lauer was caught on camera commenting on Meredith Vieria’s cleavage, his wife filed for divorce. Annette Roque was pregnant with the couple’s third child when she filed for divorce in September 2006, accusing Lauer of “cruel and inhumane acts.”
Roque reportedly claimed that Lauer treated her with “extreme anger and hostility” and he insisted on controlling “even the smallest decisions” when it came to “finances, travel plans and decorating.” Roque later withdrew the filing and has yet to publicly comment on her husband’s behavior.
Now that all this information is coming it out, it becomes entirely clear why Matt Lauer berated child sex abuse victim Corey Feldman on his show in October. Predators are well-practiced at humiliating and shaming victims.